Drinking water blow for Atlantic charity rowers

A GROUP of injured British servicemen trying to row the Atlantic have suffered a setback after a vital piece of equipment has broken.

The six-man team – of whom four lost limbs during service in Iraq or Afghanistan – are trying to raise £1m for wounded soldiers.

The Row2Recovery team started at La Gomera in the Canary Islands and are currently around 1,000 miles away from their destination in Barbados – a total journey of 3,000 miles.

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They were making good progress and had received widespread support, including a morale-boosting call from Prince Harry.

But their desalinator has broken, followed by their emergency hand-pump, leaving them without any fresh water at the turn of the new year.

Spokesman Sam Peters said: “In Army terms it’s sort of mission critical, it’s the worst case scenario bar sinking.”

The crew are waiting for a support vessel to bring 350 litres of bottled water, but it is currently around 1,000 miles away and will take days to reach them.

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“They are down to two litres of water a day,” Mr Peters said. “That gives them around 16 days worth, that’s the absolute cut-off.”

The team includes able-bodied ex-captains Ed Janvrin, 32, and former Catterick trainer Alex Mackenzie, 33, who have joined four servicemen who all lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan. Soldier Tony Harris lost his left leg when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated under his vehicle in Afghanistan in May 2009.

The team also includes Lt Will Dixon, 27, who had to have his left leg amputated below the knee when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan 10 days before Christmas 2009.

Cpl Neil Heritage, 31, needed a double above-knee amputation when a suicide bomber detonated a device a few feet away in Iraq in 2004. Also on the team is Cpl Rory Mackenzie, 30, who lost his right leg when he was blown up by a roadside bomb in Basra City in January 2007, and L/Cpl Carl Anstey, 26, who needs a leg brace to walk after he was hit by the blast from a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan, in January 2009.

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They are one of 17 teams from across the world, all aiming to cross the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Money they raise is to be distributed between three military charities: Help for Heroes, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) and ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity.

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